The nonprofit Campus Pride excluded four public colleges in Florida and Texas from this year’s list of the most LGBTQ+-friendly campuses due to new anti-LGBTQ+ state laws.
Those institutions—the University of North Florida, the University of Central Florida, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Dallas—had previously been featured high on the list, all scoring five stars on the Campus Pride Index due to their “exceptional LGBTQ+ programs and services,” which they are now largely either restricted or banned.
“New state laws endanger and harm LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender students, and create hostile and unwelcoming learning environments for all students,” Campus Pride founder Shane Mendez Windmeyer wrote in a statement Tuesday. “Students and families must exercise caution in choosing to go to college on any public Florida or Texas campus.”
Laws targeting higher education institutions over LGBTQ+ inclusivity have been a staple of this year’s legislative sessions in both states.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has waged a yearlong campaign targeting LGBTQ+ services in public higher education as part of a larger attack on diversity, equity and inclusivity. Public colleges in the state have been ordered to report gender-related health-care services, and a bill defunding DEI initiatives passed in May, leading many institutions to shut down LGBTQ+ student centers and programs. Many of the state’s LGBTQ+ students are choosing to attend college elsewhere.
Texas governor Greg Abbott signed legislation in June that bans all programs “designed or implemented in reference to race, color, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation” at the state’s public colleges. Last week the University of Houston shuttered its LGBTQ Resource Center to comply with that law.